One of the hugest changes I've made over the last 5 months is the packaged foods we've stopped buying. Before, you would always find things like pretzels, Wheat Thins, Goldfish crackers and graham crackers. Not terrible when you're eating them in moderation but if they are around, my kids definitely have trouble sticking with proper portioning on them. Plus, even the basic choices have tons of added preservatives and are still very refined.
In some of the research I've done over the past few months, I've learned that actually a natural potato chip (something where the basic ingredients are something like a healthy oil, salt and potatoes) are better than ALL those other snacks. However, I don't want to start a habit of potato chips either.
So I just stopped buying those things altogether. It was a slow process, and I would forget that I had made that decision sometimes. I won't say either, that they never get that stuff anymore. I'm guilty of letting them grab Pirates Booty or Cliff Kids Z bars from the gym. In the end though, the amounts of those things that we're all eating has gone way down.
I struggled with buying bread as well. I remember asking a friend about it, wondering which breads she buys because I'm a label reader, but I still couldn't decipher the processed label to find the one that was best for us. She mentioned Great Harvest Bread Co., which is a fantastic company! I adore every product from there that I have ever purchased. I still remember buying bread from there right after Grace was born and stopping at their Camelback location after pediatrician visits. The truth is though, it *is* expensive. Great quality for sure! Better than you can buy at most stores definitely. However, $6 a loaf for bread when bread is something most families with kids use so much of is just not practical.
Perhaps baking your own bread isn't either. Or is it? I have very little experience with yeast-based breads. I've got a ton of experience baking muffins and cookies and all kinds of things. Yeast? Intimidates me. I'll be honest.
Another friend though, has been doing one of the no-knead methods you can find out there right now. Artisan Breads in 5 minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a Day. Have you heard of this? They have a great YouTube video you can watch that showcases their method. She's been doing it for awhile and loving it. Eh, I thought. Not for me though.
As I was going through these internal conflicts of obtaining healthy bread, and spent $21 on three (3!!) loafs of bread from that great bakery (it really was delicious though!) I decided to give it a try. I bought the Healthy Breads book for kindle from Amazon, but I wish I had bought a hard copy. I did buy the Artisan Breads book in a hard copy, but I don't use as many of those recipes (though I have bookmarked many to try).
I've been really amazed at how much we enjoy it! However, it's gone through some stages. Early stages were full on 100% whole wheat that my kids wouldn't touch! We've progressed to more of a multi-grain with some unbleached organic white flour that still offers up some fiber and protein without added sugar, fat and preservatives. Each time I make it, I tweak it a little. We're still working on a sandwich-sized loaf too. I wish I had taken pictures of some of the short loafs! The toast is incredible though and we've gotten creative with how we slice it! The girls enjoy their odd-sized pb&j's also. So far we're getting somewhere.
I don't have a recipe to share since I'm still working it out. If you're interested though, check out the youtube video or their book. I think you can even check your local library to browse through it first. I know there are other methods of this no-knead type of baking as well, I just only have experience with the one and we like it a lot.
Have you ever tried making bread? What has your experience been like?